Basic engineering

A blog by eng77

What not to do in a PhD

by eng77
on September 03, 2018
Hi all. Being someone who started a PhD and was not able to complete it, I think you might want to know what I think I have done wrong. It could be useful to avoid it. I do not claim I know the way to paradise and I am sure I can tell you the way to avaoid hell.
Usually you read the stories of sucess to follow them. But let us now look on an unhappy story to try to learn from it. Usually bad experience is not shared.
My very first mistake was realising I have issue and still denying it or delaying confrontation. I listened to people who said. Oh this is normal. Usually this is PhD and blabla. I should have spotted the difference between "normal" worries and depression and major specific problems.
Actually the culture of a PhD is that most students go to have fun and conversation and at the mean time they "work". The average effective time I have seen in my group is about two hours per day. This might work for someone but not for all. I think the "fun" and "student" culture of PhD students could be dangerous sometimes.
Another problem is when I lose motivation, I tend not to work hard. I believe that working hard will lead to a successful PhD whatever bad supervision or lack of objectives or other "normal" problems are there.
Not being clear about my frustration was a bad idea. I do not like to complain but this is bad. I should have confronted my supervisor earlier.
Also writing notes is very important. All things and analyses which are not written are gone. Then you start from scratch again.
I will write again when I remeber other things.


05-Sep-18, 09:17
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 years ago
H Eng, what are you doing now? Just wondered (and sorry if you have already shared it in another thread).
05-Sep-18, 09:40
edited about 5 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 years ago
Hi Tudor_Queen. I work in industry in the same field.
06-Sep-18, 22:28
edited about 4 minutes later
Avatar for john6655
posted about 2 years ago

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16-Sep-18, 20:18
edited about 12 seconds later
by Pursue
Avatar for Pursue
posted about 2 years ago
Thank you so much for sharing these tips. Bests in your work and I hope you can develop your work while at work, publishing the little you have. Add some more tips when you have time.

I am interested to know though, what kind of confrontation do you sense was important with your supervisor? This might help also to know
17-Sep-18, 08:30
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 2 years ago
The problem that what I was doing was not very novel but if was integrated into a system with the work of other colleagues would have made something worth publishing. In the end it was my PhD which I should have produced relatively new reseacrch that leads to "own" publication.
I just followed what he said and ended upwith neither a new concept nor a good overall system performance.
If you do not believe you d what you are supposed to do, then confront.
If you see after 50 % of PhD time frame, you have not accomplished 10% of your PhD, there is something wrong.
Supervisors are different. Mine was one of queitest. I should have taken actions rather than waiting for his actions.


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